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Hand Tools

New Book, New Author: Richard Jones

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 7:52am


Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of blog posts by Richard Jones, who has written a generous and detailed book about trees and their structure, and how this affects the work of furniture makers. As you’ll learn from this post, Richard is an incredibly skilled designer, woodworker, teacher and writer. Part of his genius is in the ability to take a technical matter and present it in a way that makes it easy to pick up his book for casual reading. At the same time, the charts and information within this tome on wood technology will quickly become invaluable to the work you do in your shop, and will be a resource you turn to again and again. The book is written, and Meghan Bates is now working on the page design. The book is scheduled to be released in early 2018.

— Kara Gebhart Uhl

Hello. My name is Richard Jones, and I’m introducing myself to you at the invitation of the good people at Lost Art Press. The reason for this invitation is because I am a new author to them and they are transforming my manuscript on timber technology into a book which, at this stage, is still seeking a title that is somewhat different from my working title.

So, who am I to be writing about trees and wood?

I’m not a wood scientist. But I am a trained furniture designer/maker with British City & Guilds qualifications in the subject. I trained in the 1970s, working at the bench making craft furniture and joinery, gaining my qualifications in the early 1980s. Since those first steps I have worked continuously in and around the trade and profession. The early years consisted of gaining experience in a variety of workshops, primarily for smaller businesses, making furniture, repairing and restoring old furniture and antiques, and working as a joiner with jobs that included securing pay stations, and making panelling and architectural doors.

During the 1980s and early 1990s I worked as a technician in the Furniture Department of Edinburgh College of Art. It was the first time I was really required to take on a supervisory and management role within a workshop environment, and my work included overseeing other users, machinery maintenance, sourcing spares and materials, budgeting and other such tasks.

In 1993 I moved to Houston, Texas, with my American wife and became the temporary workshop manager for the Children’s Museum of Houston during the building of “The Magic School Bus: Insider the Earth” travelling exhibition. After this contract ended I started my own business, Richard Jones Furniture. I closed this business in 2003 to take up the offer to teach the Furniture: Design and Make undergraduate course at Rycotewood Furniture Centre, one of UK’s premier centres of craft furniture learning.


In 2005 I moved to Leeds, Yorkshire, to become Programme Leader of the BA (Hons) Furniture Making programme, a position I held for nine years until its closure in 2014. Throughout all these years in business and in my teaching roles I continued designing and making furniture for sale through exhibitions, galleries and direct sales to clients. Nowadays I continue to work in a number of part-time roles in furniture making and joinery on a freelance basis.

My next blog post? Why I wrote a book on timber technology.

– Richard Jones

Filed under: Timber Book by Richard Jones
Categories: Hand Tools

Spoons and bowls for sale

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 7:04am

Maureen has been finishing stuff lately and posting them on her etsy site, https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts and she got me poking around my spoon basket. I haven’t had much time for spoon carving, but have a few I’ve finished in the past month or so. If you would like to pick any of these, just leave a comment. Usually paypal is the easiest way to pay; I’ll send an invoice. Or you can mail a check, just let me know. Finish is food-grade flax oil on all of these. Prices include shipping in US, further afield requires an extra charge for shipping.


November spoon 01; an American sycamore crook, with S-scroll carving

L: 9 5/8″ W: 2 1/8″


Nov spoon 02; birch serving spoon
L: 11″ W: 2 1/2″


Nov spoon o3; birch crook. serving spoon. One of my favorite kinds, following both the crook of the branch as well as the curve.
L: 9″ W: 2 3/*”



Nov spoon 04; birch serving spoon.
L: 10 7/8″  W:2 1/2″


Nov spoon 05; cherry crook serving spoon. Maybe my favorite of the batch.
L: 12 3/8″  W: 2 1/4″


Nov spoon 06: Not sure what to call this one. Almost a pie-serving shape. American sycamore crook. Very flat “bowl” to this one…(clouds came out, photo is darker than the spoon really is…)
L: 9 3/4″  W: 1 1/2″



Nov spoon 07; cherry, large serving spoon. The last of a batch of oversized serving spoons in cherry. Too late for Thanksgiving…
L:13 7/8″   W”  3 1/2″



Nov tray; birch. When I was carving it, I thought of it as a bowl, but now I see it done, it’s a tray.
L: 15 3/4″   W: 5 7/8″



Nov bird bowl, cherry. The last one of these I have done for quite a while. I have unfinished ones lurking at me in the shop, but no time for them now…
L: 15″  H: (at front) 7 1/4″

How to Choose the Best Dovetail Saw for Yourself

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 4:00am

Today I had the opportunity to chat with a customer about dovetail saws, and he asked me the same question that I get all the time: what makes one saw better than another? Of course, since TFWW makes the Gramercy Dovetail saw, I have a pony in this race. Were lucky to live in a time in which people have a lot of good choices. There are many great modern makers of dovetail and backsaws. I know a lot of thought went into the Gramercy Dovetails design, so I end up talking a bit about those features, and what they mean to woodworkers.

We tout our saws high hang handle and its light weight, which makes it easier to saw straight. This isnt a useful feature for anyone who has spent a lot of time with other designs and has learned to saw straight accordingly. The Gramercy Dovetail has the smallest handle on the market, but we think it helps with the sawing. Its rare that anyone has an issue when using the normal three fingered grip - most people find it very comfortable, just different than what they expected. A review in the woodworking press noted the small size of the handle as if it were self-evidently bad, which I found very frustrating. The handle isnt cramped or uncomfortable to use. It would be a shame if this design feature puts people off unnecessarily. By the way the picture at the top of the blog is my saw atop a pile of student practice dovetails left over from the class.

Earlier this year I began teaching a class called Mastering Dovetails and its been fun to explore the concepts of sawing dovetails with the students. Most students use our Gramercy Tools Dovetail Saw but others bring in a variety of saws by other makers. It gives us a chance to play with different models and understand the design features of each better. Im gratified when students gain the satisfaction of gaining a skill and find it fun to make dovetails well. The Gramercy saw is designed expressly to make woodworking more fun.

Gramercy Dovetail Saw is not the most expensive dovetail saw you can buy, but at $240 it is still a chunk of change. We totally get that its an investment decision that almost no one makes lightly. Remember if you purchase a dovetail saw from us, or in fact anything from us, you have a lengthy six months (and, if you live in the US, free return postage) to decide if the saw is right for you. And of course the best judge for this would be you yourself, not some pundit (like me).

Here are the criteria that seems to guide choice:

Does it look pretty?

Some people profess not to care about how a tool looks, but I think most of us do. Our tastes may differ. I happen not to like the modern streamlined look. I love classical detailing. For other woodworkers, its the reverse. But either way, I think every time you look at your saw, you want to be able to smile and say to yourself, "Wow."

Does it inspire you?

The main reason I don't like modern saw design is that my thinking about woodworking is deeply influenced by history. Every time I cut a dovetail I am thinking of some 18th century apprentice. I love the brass and wood or period designs that keep me in the mood. I constantly am reminded by my tools that I am not as good as my equipment. Nice tools keep me striving. In the case of our Gramercy Dovetail Saw, the handles are made of black walnut - which I love. I know many makers like to use exotic woods: Duncan Phyfe had a small saw with a zebrawood handle. I get the appeal, although an exotic handle can really throw off the weight of the tool.

How is the fit and finish?

There is an old saying among metal finishers, "Highly polished and deeply scratched." No matter who makes your saws, you want over the years to have honest battle scars, not simplifications because the maker didn't know how to fit a back, polish some brass, or make a handle without tearout. For me also - and the reason we have those nice decorative file lines on the handle is that it looks much better than a curve cut by a router - I don't want crude lines and corners, or a square handle with barely rounded over sides. We chamfer the brass on our brass backs and chamfer and round the nose. I like the finished look. I don't even like most historical backsaws post-1820 or so because the workmanship is just cruder than the earlier saws. I find the 18th century elegance that we copied inspiring. Ive already written about our saw etch, and while saw etching uses a later technique (post-1860 or so), I love the what it brings to the tool.

Is it easy to start?

This is an actual important feature that shouldn't need mentioning, but everyone seems to report on it. Most modern saw-makers use foley saw filing machines to do their teeth. Foley machines are great but finicky and can't really reliably files saws finer than 15 tpi. In the era in which tools for handwork reached their peak - around 1800 - 1820 - dovetail saws were typically of much finer pitch (18 tpi and up) and pretty aggressive rake (zero). Starting a 15 tpi saw is a lot harder than a 18 tpi (or finer) saw, and I'm not a fan of the various schemes that are used to get around this problem, such as making the teeth less aggressive. sawing backwards, etc. I'm of the starting school of placing the toe of the saw on the wood, maybe tilted up a touch, and pushing forward, keeping as much weight off of the wood as possible so that the teeth do their job without jamming. Works like a charm with a fine tooth saw. THe only drawback to a finer pitch is that in thick material 1" or more the saw does cut slower as the gullets fill up.

Can you control the saw - and saw straight or at any angle you so desire?

We honestly think that the Gramercy Dovetails high hang handle and ultra light weight make it easier for a beginner to saw accurately. Ive gotten to see a lot of beginners give our saw a try at shows and now in the dovetail class, and its easy to observe how quickly and easily beginners find the saw to control. A lighter saw influences the cut the least. Woodworking shouldn't about fighting your tools.


9" is about average. You can go shorter or longer. Some people like a longer saw. In my class one student used a Gramercy Sash Saw that he purchased because he wanted a more versatile saw. It's a light saw for its size. It took a little getting used to, but it worked out fine. Fast too.

Is there a break-in period?

No lie: our saw has a break in period. This has gotten us into trouble with some reviews in the woodworking press. As far as I know, we are alone in echoing not just the general appearance of a traditional saw but also th4 way it is sharpened. This means aggressive filings and zero rake. When you first get your saw, it has seen only a few strokes when the shop tests it to make sure it tracks correctly and cuts fast. But those teeth are like needles. When you first use the saw, they will want to catch in the wood, especially in open pore species like oak. But after 10 minutes or so - the break-in period - any burrs and bits from the filing should be worn off have worn off and the teeth should be thoroughly evened out. At this point your saw will work smoothly and FAST.

Will the handle stay true over time?

We use Black Walnut because it is stable. I would guess that all of the mainstream materials used by everyone in the industry are fine, but if you do get a saw that is made from an exotic wood, make sure the maker says it will be stable. You wont find much to admire in a gorgeous handle that is heavy and unstable. Nothing is more frustrating than a warping handle - especially on a premium saw.

Handle size and shape.

Think about golf. The amount of effort that goes into designing a handle and club that let's someone driver further is insane. And of course what a pro does is teach you to exploit the tool, not force the tool into your current posture. Sawing is exactly the same. The goal should not be that a saw handle feels perfect from day one. It might - hopefully it will, but it should not under any circumstances just mimic whatever you are used to, it should make you a better craftsperson.

Is it within your budget?

This is a tricky one. In theory, even the most expensive dovetail saw on the market is less than a trip to Disney World. And over time, per use, it's inexpensive. But a budget is a budget and all the dovetail saws worth buying are a healthy chunk of change - with two exceptions: The Veritas saw is well made, inexpensive (1/4 of the cost of ours), works very well, but way too modern for my tastes. I don't think it is as easy to use as our saw, but it's the best deal in well-made pistol grip saws. We also stock a straight-handled gents saw that I recommend to students all the time. It could use a sharpening out of the box but even so it works well, albeit slowly.

As you might imagine, I think the Gramercy Tools Dovetail Saw does well according to these criteria. But I admit I'm biased. If I didn't like the way our saws performed we would be making them differently. The real good news is that with so many modern makers to choose from, all of whom make fine saws with differing characteristics, no matter which saw you pick, you will end up with something pretty excellent.

"I worked for nonprofits and had jobs that were just looking at numbers on a screen. But this is..."

Giant Cypress - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 3:08am
“I worked for nonprofits and had jobs that were just looking at numbers on a screen. But this is actual. I get up in the morning and engage with it. At the end of the day when I’m making dinner I can say I made this, the tool itself, and now I’m going to be feeding myself out of it. Never mind making them, but just using basic tools—that’s a powerfully persuasive but mostly alien notion these days.”

- Mac Kohler, founder of Brooklyn Copper Cookware, in Saveur magazine. He’s talking about the copper cookware that he makes and cooking, but this is exactly why I like woodworking with hand tools. And cooking, for that matter.

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 5: Rosin

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 4:48pm

I’m a bit ashamed of how long it took me to buy an inexpensive block of rosin and put it in my tool chest. Rosin, also called calophony, is derived from pine sap and increases friction on anything you rub it upon. That means that your slippery bench dogs or planing stop will suddenly stand at attention and stay that way. Rosin makes things stick. It comes in a variety […]

The post Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 5: Rosin appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

LN vs LV......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 4:21pm
The ride home tonight sucked fetid, putrid, green pus filled eggs. No accident this time but someone had broke down under the bridge. This bridge is a choke point where 3 lanes, from different directions, converge into two. Nobody wanted to give an inch to any other driver which just compounded trying to get past the disabled vehicle. Needless to say, I didn't have a happy face on  when I finally got home.

waiting for me
Three times was the charm for finally getting these. Twice they were out of stock and when I got these two there were only 5 available. I opted to get these over the other model mostly because these are longer. Or at least I remember them being longer. I got two, one for me and one for Miles.

each one comes with two blades
nice feature
Another reason why I bought this model - you can retract the blade into the handle. You have to pull the black loop at the back to do that otherwise the blade is locked in place.

I like the knife and it is better than what I was expecting it to be. It has a bit of weight to it, the blade is wicked sharp as is, and it feels good in my hand. This fills my palm nicely which I didn't think it was going to do. Haven't even made a mark with it and it already has a few gold stars.

one is in Miles's toolbox
I will road test this knife on the saw till project before I commit to an opinion on it.

dovetails penciled in
I have to pencil a baseline for the dovetails before I saw them. I marked each corner together because each one is slightly different.

itch is getting scratched
I've been looking forward to trying this LV saw out on a dovetail project.  I will saw one side with the LV and the other with the LN.

LN is in the on deck circle
I finished the dovetail sawing on the other end with the LV saw. On this test the LV wins for handle comfort and fit. The LN saw feels loosey goosey, but I still had control. I've been dovetailing with this saw from the beginning of my dovetail journey.

The saw cut from both was too close to declare a winner. I did find the LN saw easier to start but by the time I got to the last tail with the LV saw, it was old hat. I figured out the sweet spot for starting the cut which happened to be towards the heel. Both saws were easy to saw square and then follow the angle of the tails.

cut my thumb
I noticed blood all over the tail boards and I didn't know where it was coming from. Then I saw my thumb bleeding. I must have cut it when I was putting the blades into the holder.

road testing two more
Using my new to me 12" square and the Stanley knife. I didn't experience any problems with striking the line with regards to the knife's bevel.  I was able to run my line all the way around and have it meet up times 4. So my square is right on and the knife did it's job.

sawing the half pins
I did the half pins the same way I did the tails. I did one side with the LV and the other with the LN. I finished the other ones with the LV saw. I have tons of mileage with the LN so that is why I didn't do them 50/50.

I give the edge to the half pins to the LV saw but not by much. Not only was it easier sawing them with the LV saw, it was easier to track on down on the gauge line. The LN did them but it felt a bit rougher doing them with it. No hiccups with starting the LV saw on any of the half pins either.

edge to the LV saw
I almost feel like a traitor favoring the LV saw. The LN saw is what I learned to do dovetails with. The LN saw is what I used to get proficient doing dovetails. Now the upstart LV saw is wooing away my affections. I would say the biggest sway point away from the LN saw is the comfortable grip of the LV saw. The sawing is pretty much the same with both with the LV a frog hair better one way and the LN another way.

The LV saw is for Miles's kit and I had got it because it was good deal $$$ wise. I know LV makes good stuff so I went with their reputation. This is my first experience with any of the LV bench saws. If I hadn't seen the LV deal, I was going to buy Miles's a LN dovetail saw. Now I'm thinking maybe I should buy me a LV dovetail saw. After all it is almost xmas and I've been a good boy all year.

a gold star for the knife
I really didn't think I was going to like this knife at all. I thought I would try it and put it in Miles's toolbox and he would have two marking knives. Not liking it had nothing to do with the bevels on the knife but more with the perception that it is not like the marking knife above it.

I ran a few lines on my shooting board to get a feel for the knife. I didn't dig into the blade on the square and I seemed to have mastered the bevel right away. Out of the box this knife is wicked sharp. It is 100% sharper than my curved blade marking knife here. The Stanley doesn't require any flattening of the back neither. I can also sharpen the blade or toss it and put a new one.

I did all the knife lines for the dovetails with this. I like the length and it feels better in my hand than the curved blade marking knife. The Stanley has more weight, heft, and a presence when held. Compared to the other knife which has little weight, no heft and less than half the presence of the Stanley, the edge goes to the Stanley as the all around winner.

Again I feel like a traitor because I was getting fond of the curved blade marking knife. I am not ready to ditch it and marry the Stanley just yet. The Stanley has impressed me so far but like the LV saw I'll reserve final judgment until I have used both knives and the LV saw on a few projects.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What US holiday is also celebrated in Italy, Spain, and Latin America?
answer - Columbus Day

Hand Tool Basics Book Available For Order

Close Grain - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 4:07am

Book cover, showing the plane till in my basement workshop.

If you'd like a copy of my book, Hand Tool Basics, published by Popular Woodworking Books, you can order it online at ShopWoodworking.com.

It's available in both hardcopy and e-book formats. It's a direct companion to my video series, Intro to Hand Tools (more information on the series, including the free Part 1 and sample lesson, is at Intro To Hand Tools Downloadable Videos).

The images in the book are taken from the digital video I recorded for the series, and its organization and content match the series. The book is therefore a matching visual reference for hand tool woodworking, with some 1400 captioned photos.

Why have a book version identical to the video series? Several reasons:
  • Some people prefer learning from videos. Some people prefer learning from books.
  • It's nice to have both so you can sit back and watch the videos, then have the book with you on the workbench as you follow the steps for a procedure.
  • The dynamic images in the video allow you to watch the tools in motion, while the static images in the book freeze the action so you can take your time examining details. These complementary views help you get the whole picture.
Here are the full Contents and Index pages so you can see what's covered. As always, I like to show multiple ways of doing things, so you can tackle any situation based on the tools you have available, your personal preferences, and your current skill level.

Here are a few sample pages representative of the layout and level of detail in the book.

From Chapter 1: The Tools, showing a selection of the tools covered.

From Chapter 5: Mortise and Tenon Joinery, showing some of the fistfights and fundamentals.

From Chapter 6: Dovetail Joinery, showing some of the steps laying out and sawing a tails-first through-dovetail.

Feel free to email me at sdbranam@gmail.com if you have any questions about anything in the book. One of the challenges is getting just the right explanation that conveys the information to all readers regardless of their experience and skill level, and sometimes that fails.

Categories: Hand Tools

Drawbore pins completed

Mulesaw - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 7:36pm
I made the remaining handles the same ways as the first handle, and It went according to the plan.
The tangs or shafts of the drawbore pins were a bit over sized compared to the hole that I had drilled in the handles. Just a little bit, but when I first tried to mount the handle I got afraid that they might split, after all bubinga isn't a soft wood.
So I mounted the drawbore pins in the lathe and turned down the shafts to the exact diameter of the holes that I had drilled.

I still had to use a large hammer to mount the handles, but none of the handles split, and everything was really tight once seated.

For a finish I decided to use some old floor varnish that we have on board.
I simply dipped the end of a handle into the can and smeared the varnish over the rest of the surface. Once the entire handle was covered in varnish, I rubbed the handle a couple of times with an abrasive pad, and then I wiped off the excess varnish.
The idea is that it should provide a bit of protection against grime without being a super shiny and slippery surface.

Conclusion of the project:

Making a set of eccentric drawbore pins is relatively easy if you have access to a metal working lathe, or know someone who does.
The actual turning process is very simple and the material is inexpensive.

I am not sure if it was necessary to harden the drawbore pins, but I figure that it can't hurt to do it. But if you don't have the equipment for it, I am convinced that a set of homemade drawbore pins will still work perfectly.

Making tapered octagonal handles is easy, and you don't have to despair if they are not exactly square or if the taper is not identical on all sides, They are comfortable to use and a huge advantage is that they roll very poorly, so if you work on a ship there is a possibility that they might actually stay where you put them on the bench. I guess that the non rolling function also applies to shop ashore, so if you haven't got a tool tray - it could be a pattern worth considering.
Joshua Klein made an entry about the subject a couple of years back.
He was inspired by Zach Dillingers blogpost which provides a very thorough step by step guide to making those handles for a chisel.
A really fine thing about this pattern in my point of view is that it is possible to make it without a lathe.

All there is left for me now,  is to see if having some drawbore pins will make my work easier when using that joint. But I kind of expect that I will be the case.

Completed and finished drawbore pins.

Handles while drying.
Categories: Hand Tools

More Soft Wax Available Now

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 7:05pm


Katy has been hard at work making soft wax, and she now has 53 more tins to ship out immediately. Tins are $12 each and are available here through her etsy.com store.

This is likely the last batch she will be able to manage before the end of the year, though she is a determined young lady. She’s pushing hard to sell wax so that she can go on a school-sponsored trip to Boston in 2018. We’ve agreed to pick up half the cost, but she is responsible for the rest of the trip’s expenses.

And (God help me) she will almost certainly become a fully licensed driver this Friday and need to purchase gasoline and “Little Tree” air fresheners for her vehicle.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Holiday gifts

Oregon Woodworker - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 3:43pm
Every year, my wife and I try to give gifts of an Oregon product in handmade boxes.  This year we settled on a selection of teas and, wanting to get a jump on it, I made half a dozen white oak boxes last summer.

Thing of it was, though they are nice enough, I ended up not liking them for this purpose.  The main thing is that it is inconvenient to get the teabags out, but I also think they look too heavy.  I put them away and have been trying to think of another design for months.

Time is getting short, so last week I got serious.  I decided to go for a minimalist, high function design and not worry about style at all.  I also wanted it to be a design that wouldn't take a lot of time to make with hand tools and be unique.  This isn't my life's work.  As I thought about it, I realized that, because premium teabags come individually sealed, there is no need for them to be in an enclosed container.  This is what I came up with.

This isn't a design that will appeal to everyone.  It's like my active stool, designed primarily for function and not style.  Nevertheless, I like it.  It is so handy to see the tea selection and get the one you want easily.  It's light but seems to be sturdy enough.  In fact, my wife liked it enough that she asked me to make her one too, so that sealed the deal.

Construction is very straightforward.  With the stock prepared, the first thing I did was tape the three vertical pieces together so I could be sure the holes were precisely aligned. 

This also made it easy to round over the corners of the three vertical pieces in a single operation.  It's kind of hard to believe that I used six planes to make these simple pieces:

First I plowed a groove at the bottom of the outside pieces to receive the base.

Then I made a shallow rabbet so the base would fit into the groove.

This little jig I made works great for this.  Finally, just before assembly I shot all the edges and planed the faces.

I used rattlecan poly for finish.

  All in all, making 8 took about 12 hours.

Categories: Hand Tools

made a tool protector.....

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 3:26pm
I knew tonight's shop time would quick as I had a few errands to run. I had noticed the need for a tool protector yesterday and I left the tool out on my workbench so I wouldn't forget it tonight. I probably could have been a bit more elaborate in making it but in the end it serves the purpose.

This tool comes from Miles's toolbox and I am not a fan of tools thrown in a box to bang around against each other. Some tools can survive a bit of toolbox rash, this one can't. I don't really have many choices regarding tool storage in his toolbox. It is kind of small and I want to stuff it with tools so I have to compromise where I can.

round leg dividers
The points on the dividers are their Achilles heel. Once they are blunted they are pretty much useless.  The goal tonight was to make something quick and functional.

Two holes drilled in a piece of pine scrap will do the job. I made it a little pretty by planing a chamfer on all the edges.

where it lives in the toolbox
The holder doesn't take up much room and the points are protected. I would have liked to have made something to protect the screw stem too but that would have made it too large. I am not going to make anything for the flat leg dividers. The points on them are meant to be filed if need be.

figured out the lid cutout
The problem I see with the cutout is getting a symmetrical look to the pin that will be sawn in two. On my story board I increased the pin by adding a 1/8" to each slope. The half pins will be sufficiently large and if I'm careful they will be symmetrical too. I will move the target pin down to the right one more. I want the recess in the lid to large enough to accommodate at least 2 handsaws.

too wide
I don't like this look. I thought I would use the extra width but seeing it with the saws it I changed my mind. It looks too clunky so I'll lose the extra width.

kept the length
The lid will be very generously sized for a handsaw. This is my 7 point ripper and it is the longest one I have. I like the slender look for the saw till much better than the wider one. Just had another thought on this - maybe I can keep a saw set and files in the extra space?

I'll let this sticker for another day
I got the ends sawn and squared to the new length. I'll start the dovetails tomorrow.

I'm getting used to this knife
got bit on the arse again
I assumed that the back was flat. I ran the knife over an 8k stone and this is what I got after 5-6 strokes. It is sharp but I sensed it could use a touch up. Before I do that I'll have to flatten the back but I can't do it tonight.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What does Idaho mean in the Shoshone language?
answer - gem of the mountains

Winter light

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 2:54pm

I have 14 windows down in this small workshop, and here in New England as winter solstice is approaching, I can’t see well enough to do any significant work by 4:30 in the afternoon. By 4pm it’s getting dim, but I can sweep, sort stuff – can’t cut joinery or do carving. I  think about the joiners of the 17th century with the small (& few) windows in their buildings, how did they do any work in this light? Maybe they didn’t work much in the winter?

A notion that shows up in several 20th-century writings about 17th-century joiners is that they concentrated their joinery work in the winter; being too occupied with crops and livestock the rest of the year. That’s a quaint notion, and might even have some merit. One way to see if this is valid is to see tradesmen’s probate inventories to see if there’s work underway. There’s lots of reasons stuff might be un-finished…but it’s a start.

One bit of evidence in favor of this argument is the inventory of Edward Brown of Ipswich, Massachusetts, his inventory is from February 1659/60:

3 wheeles, finished lennen 13s6d, wheeles woolen & linnen not finisht £1-16  work done toward chaires 3s  &  15—ills 6s9d  shope tooles £3-6

John Symonds of Salem, Massachusetts also had unfinished work when he died. His inventory was presented in court 19:7:1671 – so September according to the old calendar.

will: “…to my son James Symonds…I do assigne my servant John Pease to him dureing the term of time expressed in the Indenture… Further I give all my workinge tooles belonginge to my trade to my son James Symonds…”

inv:  Joyners Tools benches and lare £5-5-6  2 Bedsteds almost finished £3  3 stools and one half of a Box 12s6d  1/2 Grindstone & windlass & a Small grindstone 5s  Timber planke & board £5-12

part of a Chest… 3 Chests 3 Boxes and a wooden Tunnil 14s  2 Tables a forum & Chayres 16s  a Vice and an old Hatchet 10s  nayles 10d  an Ax 6s10d   …a p of Jemmils…5 wedges…one half of a Crosscut Saw…  Timber in the Woods £1-2  an apprentice of 17 years old who hath 3 year and 9 moneths and 2 weekes to serve

George Cole died in 1675. His inventory is dated 30:9:1675, back when the 9th month was November…his work is not called “unfinished” but he had “work done in his shop…”

will:  “…I give to my master John Davis all my timber…”

3 saues 8s,  2 goynters & foreplaine 6s, 3 smothing plains & a draing knife 3s6d, 2 plans & 2 revolvong plains 10s,  4 round plains 5s, 3 rabet plains 4s,  3 holou plains 3s6d,  9 Cresing plains 10s6d,  6 torning tools 9s,  3 plaine irons & 3 bits 1s6d,  1 brase stok, 2 squares & gorges 1s6d,  1 brod ax & 1 fro 2s, holdfast 1s6d,  hamer 1s6d,  6 gouges 2s,  9 Chisels 5s,  2 ogers & 1 draing knife 3s,  1 bench hooks, 2 yoyet irons 1s,  a gluepot 1s6d,  for what work he has done in his shop £1-10

My notes include a date of “1676/7” for  Matthew Macomber  of Taunton, in Plymouth Colony. The double-dating falls between January and mid-March, so this is another one for the “winter” crowd.

a parsell of cooper’s tooles 9s  (illegible) hoopes not finished 10d  five hundred of cedar bolts att the swamp £1-10  hewen timber in the woods 8s9d  200 of cooper stuff in the woods 5s  more in tooles and arms £2-10

Another vote for winter is William Savell, of Braintree, Massachusetts. He died February 1, 1699/1700. Included in his inventory are:

a green carpitt & covers for chairs  01-08-00

a douzen painted chairs & a sealskin trunk  01-18-00

a wainscott chest and a box  01-01-00

a square table a wainscott chest and a bedstead  02-12-00

tooles  02-10-00

timber and weare begun  03-00-00

Well, here’s one more – what I always call “When Things Go Wrong”  – court cases sometimes shed light on period practice. John Davis was asked to make 4 chests, did so, and had them delivered. But it all ended up in court. All I can see is that Davis was both pissed and pissed off in May of 1681, and things got messy…but these depositions tell us exactly nothing about what time of year John Davis made these chests:

Writ: John Davis v. John Tolly; debt; for four wainscot chests made by his order and delivered to him in his house, dated June 23, 1681; signed by John Fuller, for the court and town of Lyn; and served by Richard Prytherch, constable of Salem, by attachment of the bed of the defendant, the summons being left with Mrs. Tauly.

Nathaniall Kirtland, aged about thirty-four years, deposed that he brought from John Davis’ shop at Lyn four chests and delivered them to John Tauly at his house in Salem. Davis told the deponent that Tauly had them to carry to Newfoundland. Sworn in court.

Bill of cost 3£

Eleaser Lenesey, aged about thirty-five years, deposed that Davis looked at a chest in Tawleay’s house and the latter told him to make two or three as good as that for 25s. each. Sworn in court before William Browne, assistant, and owned in court.

Richard Croade, aged about fifty-two years, testified that, on May 7, 1681, he heard Mr John Tally read from his book his account with John Davis, and the latter did not disown it. Sworn, May 11, 1681, before William Browne, assistant.

Samll Blyghe, aged about twenty-two years, deposed that, being in the house of Mr Wing of Boston in company with John Tawly of Salem and Joseph Cawly, he heard Tawly ask John Davis, joiner, of Lynn, to make the chests, saying he would rather Davis have his money than any one else, at the same time giving him 5s. Sworn, June 23, 1681, before William Browne, assistant.

John Longley, aged about forty-two years, testified that on May 6, 1681, he heard Davis at Taulely’s house call the latter a cheating knave, with many other absurd expressions, challenging him out of his own house to fight, threatening him. He also took hold of a wainscot chest in the room, threw it up and down the room, breaking several pieces of the front of the chest, etc. Davis was very much in drink. Elizabeth Tawley testified to the same. Sworn, June 28, 1681 before Bartho Gedney, assistant.

Joseph Calley, aged about thirty-seven years, deposed. Sworn, June 7, 1681, before John Richards, assistant.

Eleazer Lenesey, aged about thirty-five years, testified that, being in John Davis’ house at Line, after he had brought home the cloth, a whole piece of kersey, he said he had bought it of John Tawleay of Salem. Sworn before William Browne, assistant.

Mary Ivory, aged about forty-two years, deposed that she was at Taulie’s house when he received the chests. Sworn in court.

Samuell Ingols, aged about twenty-seven years, and Nathanil Willson, aged about nineteen years, deposed that the chests were worth 30s. each. Sworn in court.

John Longley, aged about forty-two years, and Thomas Eleat, aged about twent-six years, deposed concerning the assault and that neither Tawley nor his wife could have any peace while Davis was in the house. Sworn. May 9, 1681, before Bartho Gedney, assistant.”


Vintage ‘Cheesecake’ Postcards for Your Shop

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 7:15am


Years ago I visited a well-know tool collector and was completely charmed by a series of 1910 postcards that adorned his stairwell. Each postcard featured a modestly dressed woman posing with a tool. The surface of each postcard featured some low-level pun: “Its perfectly plane that I love you.” (Yes, they made a grammatical error there.)

At the bottom of each postcard was written: Copyright 1910 by F. Bluh.

The tool collector had amassed the postcards during many years of searching (before eBay existed). I thought these postcards would make a nice shop decoration and made a note to search some out.

Then life got in the way. John and I had started Lost Art Press, then I quit my job and forgot about the postcards. Earlier this year, Suzanne Ellison stumbled on one of them, she sent it to me and it reignited my desire to collect them.

I now have 13 of them (there are more, but 13 is enough for me). I’m going to frame them this week and decided that you might like to have them for your shop as well. So I scanned each at 300 dpi, did some mild repair and sharpening and have bundled them in the following .zip file that you can download.


These images are entirely in the public domain. Feel free to print them on photo paper and hang them in your shop or stairwell.

Of the postcards, I have two favorites. The oil can postcard and the handscrew postcard. The oil can postcard says: “If sympathy can’t soothe you, perhaps oil can. What.” What does “what” mean? “What” the heck? The handscrew postcard is just creepy. The woman has a half-lidded “Ringu” expression on her face and the text reads: “I like to be squeezed.”

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com

Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

At 16:23 Marc Spagnuolo claims he’s not the best person to talk...

Giant Cypress - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 6:58am

At 16:23 Marc Spagnuolo claims he’s not the best person to talk about Japanese saws, and then does a nice job talking about pros and cons of Japanese saws. Video game controllers are also referenced. Completely worth watching.

He also gives me a shout out. Thanks, Marc!

Hay is for Horses

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 4:38am

Just as the Lost Art Press Horse Garage has been nearing completion, this happened.



Hay field on a gray late-autumn day


Whenever my sister or I said “Hey” as children, at least within earshot of our local grandma (the other grandma lived far away, in New York), we were gently nudged in a more genteel direction. “Hay is for horses,” she’d say.

But European art suggests that hay and gentility have not always been at odds.

Twice this week I heard from Suzanne Ellison (a.k.a. Lost Art Press’s saucyindexer). Unbeknownst to me, The Saucy One had turned some images of the hayrake table I made for my book on English Arts & Crafts furniture (forthcoming in June 2018 from Popular Woodworking) into a framework for a collage of women using traditional hay rakes.

Hayrake collage jpg

“I thought if a woman builds a Hayrake Table than she should probably have a collage combining her table and women using a hay rake (apparently, men scythed and women raked and fluffed),” wrote Suzanne.

Judging by their attire, most of these women are peasants (as were my grandma’s forebears), but a couple look far more refined. Please tell me that Rosina (center row, right) was not really going to rake and fluff hay in high heels and a ribboned bonnet. And what about that corseted lady in the middle of the top row?

I’m grateful to Suzanne for applying her erudition in the cause of fun. And I chuckled when I read how she addressed me in the last message: “Hey Nancy.”


Suzanne has provided the following Information about the images:

Top row (from the left): Jean-Francois Millet, a watercolor from a mid-Victorian** friendship book, Winslow Homer.

Middle left: Peter Breugel.  Middle right: Rosina is dated 12 May 1794 by Laurie & Whittle, London (no other info), but much earlier than the mid-Vic watercolor in the top row.

Bottom row: Camille Pissarro, Maud Mullen by John Gast, after J.G. Brown, ‘Sweet Memories’ a postcard from around 1905, Leon-Augustin Lhermitte.

Center portion: butterfly from your table, a Shaker hay rake from Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts, hayrake from an original table (your photo), hayrake from your table.

The frame, as you know, is constructed from your table.

**Here is a link to the mid-Victorian watercolor in the top row, it is for sale (£28.00):



Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The Encyclopedia of Diderot & d'Alembert Online Translation - University Of Michigan

Toolemera - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 9:18pm

University Of Michigan Library Diderot Online


For your reading pleasure, The University Of Michigan has kindly hosted an ongoing French to English translation of the famous Diderot & d'Alembert Encyclopedia of EveryThing Known To Man (sic). I recommend using the Browse By Plates until you are comfortable with the deep search functions.

UMich Diderot Browse By Plates

Categories: Hand Tools

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 4: Rivierre Nails

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 4:25pm

The wire nails at the home center stink for making furniture. Don’t even think of them as nails. They are more like greased straws than they are fasteners. Once you try Rivierre forged nails, I think you’ll develop a deep respect for the nail that has Roman DNA. Nails built this country. At one point in the 19th century, the sale of nails was a significant amount of the country’s […]

The post Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 4: Rivierre Nails appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

saw till et al.........

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 3:00pm
Most of the day was spent on the saw till but in the early AM I did a few other things.  I had gone to the shop at oh dark 45 but I didn't do much beyond giving a lot things some really good goofy looks. My wife slept in late so I couldn't run the bandsaw which is want I wanted to use. I put the time to good use surfing the net and buying a few xmas presents. This is the first year in a long time I am not done with my xmas shopping by thanksgiving. I'll probably be done by the 1st so Santa can cross me off the list then.

this I could do at oh dark 45
I steel wooled the both of them and put on the final coat of shellac.

2nd oh dark 45 thing
I was going to oil the iron and chipbreaker when I noticed that I didn't finish the flattening of the back. All I did was the 80 grit runway but I like going up to 8k and putting a shine on the back.

I placed this piece of 6mm plywood at the end of the iron and I applied pressure to it with my palm. It speeds up the flattening by a factor of 100 over using my fingers. The best advantage of using was it saves my fingers. If I had done all the flattening with my fingers they would singing arias now and I would be way laid.

better shine and I can see the bottle reflection in it
something I've not seen before
This design makes more sense then the studs and barrel nuts. I had to double triple check the #3 these came off to make sure it was a Stanley and it was. I'm pretty sure it is a WWII plane based on the thickness of the plane's walls. So maybe this is a war time substitution because of the prohibitions on brass.

the japanning is almost 100%
I got this #3 from Ken Hatch for my grandson's toolbox but I already had given him one. With the pre-blessing from Ken, I'll rehab this and pass it on to someone who needs it. A little shining of the brass adjuster knob and the plane sole is all that is needed on this. It shouldn't take me more than an hour or two at most.

wife finally got up
I got all the slots sawn again and then I sawed off the part to the right of the oak strip.

slipped on without a whimper
I had a difficult time pulling this handle off and I was expecting the same fun putting it back on. No problems putting it on at all. Slipped on like it was greased and no problems moving it around to line up the holes.

shellac filled in the holes
The screws won't fit in the holes.

punched out the shellac build up
still won't fit
I was trying not to hammer this Cro Magnon style. I was barely doing love taps on it because it shouldn't need to be hammered home.

next punch size up is too large
found my problem
I was delusional because I thought all saw nuts were the same thread size. Turns out it isn't so. I was also operating under the assumption that I had kept the saw nuts for each saw together and separate. It seems that I didn't do that neither.

I will have to buy some saw nuts and a drill bit for drilling the holes for them. I was able to screw the handles on but 2 of them are spinning. The handle isn't loose but it is only a matter of use and time before it will be.

I think this will work well and I have to make the till to fit it
two squares mark the max length
almost 29" for the ID
Add a 1 1/2" for the OD and a few for wiggle room and I'm getting close to the 3 foot mark.

I'll have to make a new intermediate holder - the slots are offset
don't have to make a new one
I sawed the width wrong and when I tried to line it up on the edge it threw it off from the other two.

everything is lined up straight now
I glued the holders in place with hide glue. I didn't want to do that but I decided to do it for strength. After the glue had been clamped for a few hours I put some screws in them.

time to put the keepers on
1/4" set up bars
I used the bars to set the reveal around the lid. Once I was happy with that look, I penciled the four corners on the lid.

don't need much and I penciled these in lightly
1/2" set up bars
The bars are 2. 0457112394572383 frog hairs thicker than the stock. I laid the 1/2" bars on the pencil lines and marked them with pencil.

1/2" lines are just inside of the ends
The keepers I shot to be so that the pencil lines were just visible at the ends and the outside.

nailed partly
I still have to remove this to erase my pencil lines and sand the inside. The keepers are secured good enough to check the fit.

it fits this way
The fit is loose both side to side and top to bottom which is what I was shooting for. The side to side shouldn't change but the top to bottom might even though this is only 1/2" thick and less than 6" wide.

fits the same way flipped 180
For my use I wouldn't put a knob or handle on this. But this is going to be a xmas present so I think I should put one on it. I've got time to think of something.

one spot of hide glue in the middle
small bit of twist
I have never liked sanding things like this to level the feet. I have yet to be lucky and not rip the sandpaper or have it last without ripping before I was done. Planing out the twist is easy and there is nothing to rip.

making tiny dovetails
I tried to make a small tray to fit inside the box. It is deep and this will help divide up the space. My tails look like crap and I would bet a lung that they would be gappy enough to drive a truck through.

sawed tails with the LV saw and the LN carcass saw
I think  I was able to saw this with those two saws because it is maple.

the zona saw still gives me fits -  my tails are proof
First problem with the zona was seeing the cut line. Second problem was trying to keep it going straight. Third problem was the plate would buckle on me. The problem 4 to 10 were I couldn't see the cut line.

I had tried switching the plate around so that it cut on the push stroke but that made the problems worse. Especially the buckling. The zona did not like sawing on the push stroke. I set this aside for now but I think I'll try it again but I'll use the LV dovetail saw.

prepping the stock for the saw till
That mark is the maximum height I need on the inside. I did the same to get the length.

made a change in plans
I am going to use most of the width of the stock. The lid can be used to stow saws too that may be acquired in the future. I will saw off that red knot because it will be nothing but trouble.

a tiny bit left - but it's solid
raised a sweat
It's been a little while since I ripped this much wood.

flattening the stock
There is a small bow and cup in this. All I plan on doing it removing that and making one face flat and straight. This board isn't rocking at the corners so I know it isn't twisted.

board #2 had less bow and cup
I didn't think this would have any twist but it did. After the planing the rocking corners twice and still not removing it, I checked it with the sticks until it was gone.

ends squared and shot to length
ditto with the long sides
dovetail story pole
I made this for two reasons. The first was to see where the tails/pins are in relation to the groove for the top and bottom panels. I can bury the groove in one of them and I'll have to chop the groove in the other.

The other reason is to see where the lid cut off will fall on the line of tails and pins. I like the number and spacing on the dovetails on this board but I don't like where the lid cutoff is.

made a second dovetail story board
I increased the the spacing and decreased the number of tails/pins. The cutoff line isn't carved in stone other than I want it above the center of the height. I'm not overly thrilled with story board #2 but between the two I'll come up with something.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What was Red's inmate number in the Shawshank Redemption Movie?
answer - 30265

8" dovetail saw Karelian Masur Birch - 200mm Zinkensäge Karelische Maserbike

Two Lawyers Toolworks - Sun, 11/26/2017 - 7:42am
Dovatail saw karelian masur birch 8" long shy 1 3/4 deep 17 TPI Zinkensäge Karelische Maserbirke 200mm lang 43mm tief 17 tpi Pedderhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/12692353908068506678noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Hand Tools


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